Heart surgeons who seek to learn about new treatments for atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm, can do so using two instructional 3-D simulations from Virtual Heroes Inc. (VHI).
One simulation demonstrates an open-chest procedure, and the other shows laparoscopic access (which involves a fiber-optic instrument inserted surgically) in a closed-chest setting.
VHI developed the simulations with the help of Dr. Andy Kiser, chief of thoracic surgery at First Health Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, N.C.
Kiser performed a “surgery” on a prosthetic heart and chest, which VHI artists attended to maximize the simulations’ realistic feel and look. They also teamed with other surgeons to make sure they understood the medical terminology, as well as ensure physiological and anatomical correctness.
Kiser said the simulations reflect the applicability of showing, not telling, in certain learning situations.
“We knew that showing the surgery as realistically as possible would be critical to teaching the procedures and much clearer than trying to explain it,” he said. “In this case, we believed that a picture (or pictures) would be worth millions of words to show exactly how the surgery could be performed.”
Additionally, Kiser said myriad surgeons have benefited from the simulation-based training, which includes realistic 3-D views of a heart (front and back) during actual surgeries, as well as a narrative from the surgeon.
“These tools have strengthened our educational seminars, enabling us to more quickly and effectively help people understand the procedures,” Kiser said.
He also praised VHI for its dedication to helping surgeons become better at treating atrial fibrillation.
“The Virtual Heroes team has thoroughly impressed us with their learning capacity and enthusiasm for what we were trying to accomplish, as well as their overall level of professionalism, technical expertise and artistic talent,” Kiser said.
VHI already has developed HumanSim, a dual-use medical training platform geared toward members of the military, as well as civilian first responders.
Jerry Heneghan, VHI founder and CEO, said it is important for medical and health care professionals to have excellent training opportunities and capabilities, as people’s lives truly are in their hands.
“These projects were a great opportunity for us to demonstrate our capabilities and add to our knowledge base in the health care/medical market,” Heneghan said. “It is gratifying to work with people like Dr. Kiser who are dedicated to making a real difference in people’s lives.”
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